Ozarks Medical Center is cautious but optimistic

Wednesday, July 15, 2020
Michelle Haney, Education Coordinator, OMC; screening patients at the main entrance to Ozarks Medical Center.

Beginning July 14, Ozarks Medical Center (OMC) modified visitor restrictions to allow each patient admitted to the hospital to have one visitor, per day from 4 to 6 p.m. Visitors will be screened at the point of entrance and asked to wear a mask. Each patient will be required to have the same visitor for the duration of their stay. Each visitor will be required to remain in the patient’s room at all times.

“Visitors are an essential part of the healing process for patients who require our medical care inside the hospital,” says Dr. Samantha Wallace, Medical Director of the Hospitalist Team.

“We strategically chose to wait until after the July fourth holiday to be able to assess the situation after many in the community gathered together to celebrate our country’s independence and freedom. Although we are prepared to tighten visitor restrictions in response to any possible spike in cases, we are very pleased to welcome visitors back into our healthcare facility.”

For the most up-to-date information, please visit www.ozarksmedicalcenter.com/Coronavirus/ to read a complete list of visitor restrictions.

OMC continues to modify operations and protocols to put the health and safety of the community at the forefront. Currently, that includes requiring all coworkers, patients and visitors to mask in shared common spaces as well as being temperature screened before entering any OMC facility. OMC is managing personal protective equipment (PPE) and pharmaceutical supplies to ensure that the largest medical system in South Central Missouri is ready to care for its community. All surgical patients will be tested prior to the surgical date.

OMC announced furloughs earlier this year in response to the financial downturn resulting from the pandemic. Officials are pleased to say that they’ve been able to bring back a vast majority of the workforce as patient volume has grown. While some employees, like Education Coordinator Michelle Haney, were brought back to resume work in their home department, they were also asked to take on additional responsibilities such as staffing the screening stations at the entrance to the hospital.

“It’s an honor to be part of a team that puts the safety of the community first,” said Haney. “If screening patients and visitors is where I am needed, I am happy to help.”

Welcoming volunteers

OMC is pleased to welcome more smiling faces, as a limited amount of volunteers will be walking the halls once again helping out where appropriate. Like employees and visitors, all volunteers will be screened and wearing masks at all times.

“We have missed our volunteers as they are a shining light to our patients,” said Tom Keller, OMC President, and CEO. “Volunteers are our eyes and ears. They truly look for opportunities to make a positive impact during a time of hardship for those who visit us. I am inspired by our volunteers who choose to spend their time in the hospital while our nation is hurting.”

Expanding patient care facilities

OMC administration and the OMC Medical Group continue to move forward with plans for the future. The 20,000 square foot Women’s Center is scheduled to open in the fall and the 100,000 square foot Medical Office Building (MOB) is scheduled to open mid-2021. Officials at OMC say that they need the expanded facilities now more than ever.

“Finishing the Women’s Center will allow beds on the current OB floor to be converted to care for other patients and potentially COVID-19 patients,” said Keller. “Additionally, the building expansion at OMC positively impacts the local community through job creation as well as increased commerce to local businesses. Local businesses are still reeling from the negative effects of the pandemic.”

The future MOB will house OMC physicians offering a wide variety of specialties. OMC continues to move forward in growing service lines based on statistics and research derived in cooperation with the Missouri Hospital Association.

“Patients in our communities should not have to bear the burden of traveling 100 miles to visit a specialist whose services we can offer here,” said Dr. Antony Joseph, board-certified general surgeon and President of the OMC Medical Group. “The new medical office building will allow us to continue growing the OMC Medical Group, allowing residents to stay close to home to get the healthcare they need.”

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: